'I told Selebi about Agliotti'

When police seized a R105-million Mandrax consignment in 2002, police National Commissioner Jackie Selebi was “informed about Glenn Agliotti’s involvement”, says a statement to the Scorpions.

The subsequent investigation failed spectacularly—Agliotti remained untouched, suspects caught red-handed were released and much of the haul was stolen back from the police.

Selebi visited the scene, reportedly saying the bust sent a message to drug lords that they had “nowhere to hide from the law”. He could not have been more wrong.

The Mail & Guardian has no evidence that Selebi personally interfered with the investigation, but the incident raises serious questions:

  • He has denied knowing of criminal allegations against Agliotti, his friend, including those contained in the statement.
    At issue is why he did not terminate the relationship.
  • The statement compounds evidence that Agliotti and those around him used their relationship with police—and Selebi in particular—as a “cover” for crime.
The latest evidence comes from an explosive statement signed by Paul Stemmet, who headed Palto, a vigilante squad that freelanced for the police. The M&G presented evidence last week indicating that Palto raids, conducted in the name of the police, were turned into profit opportunities for Palto, Agliotti and others.

Stemmet’s statement was made to the Scorpions earlier this year. Apart from the Mandrax bust-gone-wrong, it deals inter alia with his and Palto’s proximity to Selebi (see below) and Agliotti’s alleged shopping gifts to Selebi.

The Mandrax bust, on January 3 2002, was widely reported in the media. Police had tracked a container as it was transported from a Johannesburg depot to the Kya Sands industrial area. There, a number of boxes marked as containing tiles were transferred to another truck, which was followed to an upmarket home in Bryanston. Police pounced as the boxes were offloaded. Seven suspects were arrested at the scene.

Police said at the time that they had found 1,5-million Mandrax tablets with a street value of R105-million. Selebi posed with the find.

Stemmet’s statement says: “In January 2002, Glenn Agliotti … asked me to assist him in escorting a container … He offered to pay me about R70 000 to escort the container from the container depot to Kya Sands. This request made me very suspicious, as it was a very large amount of money for the type of job he needed us to do.”

Stemmet says he agreed to do the job, but informed MornÃ

Stefaans Brümmer

Stefaans Brümmer

Stefaans is an old hand at investigations. A politics and journalism graduate, he cut his reporting teeth at the Cape Argus in the tumultuous early 1990s; then joined the Mail & Guardian as democracy dawned in April 1994. For the next 16 years (a late-1990s diversion into television and freelancing apart), the M&G was his journalistic home and launch pad for award-winning investigations focusing on the nexus between politics and money. Stefaans has co-authored exposés including Oilgate, the Selebi affair, Chancellor House and significant breaks in the arms deal scandal. Stefaans and Sam Sole co-founded amaBhungane in 2010. He divides his time between the demands of media bureaucracy (which he detests), coaching members of the amaBhungane team, and his first love, digging for dung.
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